Oklahoma Patent of the Month – September 2021

Landscape plants are typically grown in a pot or container first for a few reasons. Plants in containers can be grown faster and their roots are not severed during transplant. Not to mention, they can be grown indoors at any time during the year. The industry uses a variety of containers for this purpose, ranging from metal cans to plastic containers. However, some plants – including woody plants – experience problems in these containers, from spiral root growth to reduced root development. While there are methods for pruning the roots as they overgrow the container, these methods still limit the survival of the plant. Lacebark, Inc. has designed a novel container specifically for air-root pruning.

The container is designed with a base and a sidewall with inward facing ribs. Each rib extends in an upward direction with a set of ledges on each side. Each rib on one side has a ledge vertically offset from the other ledge on the rib. The sidewall also has multiple holes, each positioned where a ledge extends from a rib. This design allows a plant to grow and produce roots as normal. While the roots grow downward and outward, the root can then engage the base or sidewall and become redirected. The ribs and ledges prevent root circling and direct the roots towards the holes, where they grow out and can be air pruned. The first root to reach an opening is usually the tap root. When this occurs, the tip dehydrates and stops growing and secondary roots form that are horizontal in growth habit. These secondary roots are dehydrated and create additional root branching. By better directing the roots towards holes, they can be better managed and taken care of, ultimately producing healthier plants.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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